Many years ago, the late Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri the presidential candidate of the defunct Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP) was famous for his soft stance in politics of the Second Republic. He was formerly with the defunct Nigerian Peoples Party with the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the party’s presidential candidate in the 1979 presidential election. The late Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri later fell out with the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He later parted ways with Dr. Azikiwe and formed the then Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP) without bitter recrimination towards Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Waziri told the whole world that his own style of politics was that of “no bitterness”, and later became and referred to as “apostle of politics without bitterness.”
Some years later, in 1999, by some happenstances the former President Olusegun Obasanjo was voted into power and without mincing words said he would play the politics of do-or-die for anybody who cared to listen. Since then, he had been tagged the “apostle of do-or-die politics” and that acronym had stuck to him like leprosy. The Nigerian politics and politicians had over the years been ridden with violence at ward, state and federal levels. It is no more “no victor no vanquished” politics.
The case of All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses readily comes to mind. The congresses held across the nation simultaneously on May 5, 2018 were marred by violence, thuggery and in some states killings. From Ekiti State to Imo, Anambra and others, newspapers were awash with stories of violence, thuggery and other electoral malpractices. In Ekiti State, the APC governorship aspirant and Solid Mineral Resources Minister, Kayode Fayemi threatened to sue the party leadership if his ward congress election was not upturned because of his perceived malpractices by the top hierarchy of the party. Cases like this abound in almost all the ward congresses.
We ask, when will the politics of this country be played according to the stipulated rules of engagement with the humongous amount of money sunk into election from the ward, state and federal levels? It has been said many times that Nigeria spends the highest amount of money on election in the whole world.
And yet the country has nothing to show for it other than thuggery, maiming and killings which go on unabated. Nigerian politicians will stop at nothing to get to power at all cost, this is a fall-out of OBJ’s syndrome of politics of do-or-die being replicated by the country’s political class. We have lost count of lives lost to each election, properties destroyed in the processes. We practise crude politics in this country which is antithetical to what obtains in saner climes. The type of politics we play in Nigeria and the resultant beneficiaries reflect the type of governance we are at present experiencing where thugs and other desperadoes suddenly find themselves in power. They all abound in the Senate, House of Representatives, State Assemblies and Local Governments.
We therefore call on the political elites to remove the toga of extremism beginning from the top hierarchies of political parties at ward, state and federal levels, play the game by stipulated rules. How the 2019 election will go depends on how ward congresses will be conducted. Politicians should always imbibe the spirit of give and take and compromise on certain issues of common interest.
We salute the states where the ward congresses were peaceful. We say NO to acerbic politics, politics of do-or-die in our country anymore. The All Progressives Congress should get their act together and calm frayed nerves in the party. Aggrieved factions should urgently be placated to prepare the party for the 2019 general elections. Enough of this tsunami in the APC.
President Muhammadu Buhari should henceforth take total control of the party machinery and not allow the cabals (the wolves and hyenas) to have free reign in his government. Last week, he promised Nigerians to sack some of his ministers and replace them with new ones, he should, as a matter of urgency fulfill this promise. The clock is ticking fast for him. No time for excuses from him. Nigerians are visibly agitated. He should deliver on his mandate.
We hereby passionately appeal to our politicians to eschew the do-or-die politics for which they are notorious and embrace the politics of “no bitterness” initiated and practised by the late Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri. The recent violence-ridden and thuggery-ridden ward congresses was the result of do-or-die politics being practised by politicians nationwide which does not do the country any good.